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Free Ride Over for Microsoft Azure Users

If you're going to ask people to beta test your software and help find bugs, the least you can do is make it a freebie. But now that Microsoft has finished development of its Azure cloud service, it's time to start charging for use. CodeGuru explains what happens next.

The first ones are free. After that you have to pay.

That's the message Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been putting out for months regarding its Windows Azure cloud-computing platform. Now, the second part kicks in.

Microsoft began charging customers for use of its Azure platform Monday, Feb. 1, after making the service free to vendors who want to develop and sell services hosted in the software giant's cloud.

Now, the question is will customers decide to pay for the services and remain loyal to the software giant's play in the cloud-computing space? Or will they stiff Microsoft and move on?

"We are announcing the general availability of Windows Azure and SQL Azure in 21 countries," Doug Hauger, general manager of Windows Azure business and marketing, said in a blog post on The Microsoft Blog on Monday. "Starting today customers and partners across the globe will be able to launch their Windows Azure and SQL Azure production applications and services with the support of the full service level agreements (SLAs)."

Read the full story at CodeGuru
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